over the past couple of weeks i’ve experienced several good lessons.  some background on lesson number one…

cuff bracelet
last week my son’s school had a benefit art fair to raise money for more arty programs at their school.  i helped with the advertising (designed all of the fliers) and had a table there, which was joyous fun — 30 amazingly talented artist parents were there selling things from high end metal sculptures to jewelry to original paintings to t-shits (but really, really cool ones).  i really didn’t think i would sell anything but i was quite wrong.  i spent weeks getting ready, making lots of “little things” to sell with my art pieces — cheaper stuff like art print cards and such so that hopefully i’d make a few bucks for the school (20% went to them).  none of the “small things” sold except some of finn’s cards (of course!).  then, i also made a few more “tame” things — not really alicia-style but i thought maybe it would be better not to have everything anatomical or “weird”.  despite being well made and cool, none of those things sold.  i sold several prints (even the black and white woman and man which i didn’t feel would be interesting to school parents), some journals — just the funkier ones, some collages, some charlotte assemblages, etc.   lesson number one:  i sold almost everything i created from my heart.  things i loved.  i sold nothing that i made to be more acceptable to others.  just sold the skulls and rib cages and charlottes with anatomical hearts and alice in wonderland “stuff”.  so, i’m not making anything to “please” anyone else again.  that was my first and last time.  if i were to place blame, i’d say it was my mother’s fault, but i won’t.  next time she says “you should try making something a little less dark or weird sometime and see how it does” i’ll just smile and ignore her… then paint a girl with bone arms or something.

two cuff bracelets

i had also started making several cuff bracelets.  these were the first two which i forgot to take like a jackass.  i didn’t sell any at the art fair but got a call two days later that a gal wanted the ones i had for her shop.  just six.  but it was nice to sell them (even though it was wholesale).  i had mentioned to a new customer and my friend kerin a couple/few weeks ago that i was trying my hand at making cuff bracelets.  i’m not a jewelry person!  at that point i think i had 7 finished and 2 more started.  BOTH of them asked “have you seen or heard of sparrow salvage?  they literally both told me of this person within an hour or so of each other.  wowz!  her stuff is so very amazing!  i have since finished my two last cuffs and haven’t started any new ones.  go look at her stuff, seriously.  i LOVE it!

cuff bracelet, steampunk, gears, lace
this one is a little too big for my mini wrist but i think i’m going to keep it.  it has so many things i’ve gotten from my sweet friends.  lace from jo in england, lisa in maryland and debs in new zealand, watch parts from rainey in ireland, little bits from kerin in this place called oregon, wonderful fiber (what is it called?) from patti in kentucky, etc.  needless to say, it’s special to me.  i just have to shrink it a bit… and give it one more quick dip into coffee as the white is still a little too white.

judy wilkenfeld, altered book, workshop, kc willis

copyright judy wilkenfeld

speaking of kerin (which i’ll do again in a sec), she and i are going to be taking judy wilkenfeld‘s 3-day workshop at kc willis’s studio in colorado in august.  i’m going to make us pretty cuff bracelets for the occasion.  i’m a dork, i know.  but i think she is making us necklaces so she’s a dork too.

okay, okay.  lesson number two.  i started a painting of a girl a couple/few weeks ago.  grabbed an old painting i hated from about 6 years ago, painted the background black, sketched a girl, and spent a whole whoppin’ ten or fifteen minutes painting her face.  then i was tired and had to go to bed.  i hated her.  her mouth and coloring were wrong, her eyes are totally wrong, never finished her hair, etc.  i kept wanting to finish it.  my little dude asked me just a couple of days before he turned seven “why don’t you finish that girl, mom?”  and i said “i don’t know if i can.”  he said “the problem here is that you don’t believe in your art.  you CAN finish it but you’re just not letting yourself.  are you afraid it will be bad, or good?”  how can a little one be so insightful and wise?  lesson learned: believe in your art (i’m still working on this one).  i worked on it a bit by adding a border and scribbling in pen on her to emphasize her numerous flaws.  still don’t like her… or feel she’s done.  so, i emailed it to kerin… (told ya she’d pop up again!).

imaginary friend, portrait, painting, lady
keriny is a ninny.  she said “i love her!  don’t change a thing!”  or something to that effect.  she is ever so sweet, that kerin!  i said “but she’s not done — i didn’t even do the hair.  that was just left over red.  haven’t done her shirt.  her eyes are wonky and i think she should be looking down.  she said “leave her just as she is.”  i think she should see it in person to view the defects of perception and tones.  where is a good place to learn painting faces?  i adore kerin and totally respect her opinion but i think she’s wrong.  😉  i’ve been having fun with my weirdo little girls and want to do a small series of “imaginary friends” but having never taken an art class or workshop, so i’m not sure where to begin.  any suggestions would be quite welcome.  the whole reason i’ve started people is because i was commissioned to paint a nude lady in “my” style.  i don’t do people so wanted to practice first.  this girl here is my third person i’ve ever tried to paint, which i am sure is evident.  maybe i’ll start the nude after my fourth.

this piece is a portrait my son did.  i should take lessons from HIM.  it’s about 18 x 24 inches on heavy watercolour paper and coloured with dyes, not paint.  the black is three dimensional — black ink in glue.  he created this while still six.

child art, portrait, dye, painting
apparently they did two portraits in art class and the teacher kept the best of two.  i MUST see it because this is totally amazing to me.  i’m having it framed as soon as i have some money and hanging it on the main wall in our living room.  i’m such a proud mama!